A while back the old song Widecombe Fair came up in conversation and I was surprised one local claimed never to have heard of it. I know Widecombe-in-the-Moor is across the Devon border way down on Dartmoor but I thought this tale of the fate of Tom Pearce’s old grey mare was regarded as a West Country standard.
I had an mobile phone on me and there was a WiFi connection available so we set about looking it up on the internet. YouTube held several versions and the first we tried was rustic and sounded authentic but it wasn’t easy to hear the words on the small tinny speaker of my smartphone.
We then spotted Widecombe Fair sung by Jon Pertwee. Having grown up on Mr Pertwee playing Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge on television we had to take a look.
It comes from a 1972 vinyl LP called Wonderful Childrens Songs recorded by Jon Pertwee and June Whitfield. Other children’s favourites on the album include Old Macdonald Had A Farm, Puff (The Magic Dragon) and Those Magnificient Men In Their Flying Machines.
Amazon list the record but a the time of writing there is no stock available. The Discogs web site gives a full track listing, but manages to spell Widecombe with a double D and a second i, ie Widdicombe.